This article will list the things you must not do when pitching the media in order to be interviewed and plug your book, small business, non-profit or tech startup. When pitching TV or radio producers, journalists or bloggers avoiding these pitching mistakes greatly improves your chances of being booked for an interview.
Getting on TV or the radio, or having an article feature you or your product can put you on the map like no other promotional vehicle. If you follow the right system, you can do it even if you are not “wired in” or well known. But more about that later.
As America’s Leading Media Pitch Coach, I work with a number of producers and journalists on a daily basis. As a rule they are very easy to deal with in spite of their busy schedule. They need good people to talk to as much as we need their plugs.
With that said, media professionals are human and have their own set of things that absolutely drive them crazy. Things that will cause them to delete a pitch or even blacklist the person that sent the pitch. It is vital you avoid making any of the mistakes that can send you to the delete file.
Here is a list of the things that you must not do when pitching the media:
1. Using canned pitches that are obviously being sent out shotgun style to everyone that has an email address. TV and radio plus journalists and editors can spot “canned’ pitches from the first sentence. These people like to think of themselves as the individuals they are. Make each pitch a custom pitch and cut down on the distribution list to avoid taking the “canned approach”.
2. Using a “hyped” or all caps subject line. Let the subject speak for itself, hype scares media professionals off.
3. Calling to make a pitch. These are busy people and they don’t have time to listen to your pitch, take notes, etc. As 99.9% of the producers, editors and journalists I work with tell me this is the only way they want to be pitched.
4. Using press releases and assuming the media reads them. For the most part all but the smallest media outlets ignore press releases as they do not have the staff to read them knowing most of the press releases are not related to their audience’s interests.
5. Following up on the emails. If they are interested they will call you. They really will. Take your shot, assume it was read and live with it. If you wake the sleeping giant, you will regret it because you will find your email address blocked.
6. Sending pitches to a media outlet or contact at the media outlet that does not cover your subject. Don’t send a food related pitch to an auto publication and don’t send a food related pitch to the sports editor.
7. Using general pitches instead of targeted, focused pitches. The more targeted and focused your pitch is, the better your results will be. Media professionals can spot a pitch tailored to them and will give it extra attention.
8. Pitches that contain lots of jargon or technical terms. Write in plain English and assume the recipient does not know anything about the subject.
9. Using the same pitch over and over. If you bomb out the first time, don’t think it will work if you send it 3 weeks later and then 3 weeks after that. If a pitch does not get a response, change the pitch.
10. Name dropping. Don’t mention that the boss of the person you are pitching is interested in the story in an effort to pressure the recipient.
11. Don’t threaten. Don’t tell the recipient that something bad will happen if they don’t cover your story. And don’t say that something bad will happen if they cover a competitive story. You could face some serious legal trouble for this.
12. Trying to control content or timing of covering your story. Don’t try to dictate when a story will run or what will be in it. The media hates to be told what to do.
13. Trying to use PR in place of advertising. The media is not in business to advertise your book, cause or small business. If you want adverting you have to pay for it.
14. Not being prepared to respond to an inquiry. If you get a bite after you send out a pitch, you better be ready to respond quickly and thoroughly.
Just by avoiding these media pitching mistakes, you will have a much better chance of having your pitch read and you being booked.
If you have a unique book, product or cause, you probably will need help getting the exact pitch right. That is why I created the Quick Fame System. It comes with one on one phone coaching, so we can tailor your pitch to your special circumstances.
If you just want to run a pitch by me, you might be interested in the One Hour Media Pitch Consultation. This is also done over the phone.
Be sure to sign up for the Special Report shown on the home page of this blog. Honestly it is the real deal if you want to do your own publicity well.
Any questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks and good luck.
America’s Leading Media Pitch Coach.